December… it’s that time of year again!

I love this time of year –

…full of joy, people are nicer to each other, and snuggling up to the file with cocoa is a great way to relax. I thought that I would write something about Christmas this month but something happened in that got me so riled up that I felt it was important to discuss. Then it hit me – this actually has everything to do with the gift giving season.

What kind of gifts are we giving our kids?

Parents in the Lehigh Valley had an opportunity to give our kids a gift in November – a gift of change.

For those of you who don’t know the story – at each Emmaus Football game the drum line comes out of the stands and plays on the track for the crowd. Even though I really enjoy watching football, I still think this is one of the best parts of the game. The cheerleaders get involved, the parents, the students – it’s a really great part of the game.

At the last football game, the drummers put baby powder on the drums for a cool effect. It was so exciting that the video actually went viral and made it all the way to Barstool Sports blog.

After this point, the band director got upset that they did it and told them they couldn’t play for the students for the entire next season. A whole year.

When parents heard about this there was an outcry. It made it to 69 news, the morning call and many other news outlets because many people thought it was too harsh of a punishment and unfair. After the public outcry the school board or the band director reversed the decision.

While the overwhelming majority of people were in favor of the reversal – some people were concerned because they thought that we were teaching our kids not to respect authority.

I respectfully disagree…  I think that is exactly what we were doing.

What does it mean to respect authority? The kids didn’t go crazy, they didn’t riot, they didn’t even throw their band director under the bus. They are actually quoted in the morning call by Paul Muschick as “The drumline members, to their credit, handled the penalty with class after it was handed down. They expressed remorse and said they accepted the decision.”

As parents we have a responsibility to teach our kids what it means to respect authority and true respect of authority also means knowing when to stand up for something that isn’t right.

Leaders in this world are not always right. Anything from sometimes just making a bad decision to being downright corrupt.

I have worked for people that were bullies, corrupt and just plain mean. I have watched leaders play political games and lie to the people they are working with and only tell part of the story. I have watched leaders endanger other people who trust them because they aren’t sharing all the information. I have watched leaders choose power over responsibility and pride over care.

There have been points in my life where I needed to decide if respecting authority meant to follow the leader even when I didn’t agree or to standup and make a stand when I couldn’t be part of something anymore.

Respecting authority is about knowing when:

When……
is this just a disagreement of opinions and so I will follow my boss because they are in authority.

When……

is this something I know I’m right in but it’s not my decision to make so I will politely express my thoughts but then follow the person in charge.

When…….

is this harmful and hurtful to other people and I can’t sit back and watch and not say anything anymore.

When..….

Is this illegal and I need to risk everything to tell the truth.

If all we do is teach our children to follow authority because the person is in authority, we have failed our children.

And once again – what does this have to do with technology? In this case the video of the band went viral. The whole world could see it and did. Because of technology what would’ve once been just a small stadium event was now viral and being seen by the eyes of the world.

We have the ability to use technology give gifts to our children. In this case, the gift of being able to make a change in our world.

Our kids are watching how we respond to situations and they are learning what we are teaching. What might’ve just been a decision between a few people now had the opinion of the world weighing in. While this may be a very small example, I feel strongly that this is so important because we all now have a bigger responsibility. A responsibility to be aware of how we conduct ourselves both in person and online. Are we going to use technology to teach our kids just go online to shop and have fun or that it can be a tool to be used respectfully to make changes that matter?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences of the good you have found with technology. Please email me at hspear@ezmicro.com with your thoughts.

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